north east scotland's festival of new music

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Colin Currie Group

Written by Alan Cooper, The Herald

Reproduced with permission of Herald & Times Group.

article | The Herald

Johnston Hall, Aberdeen University *****

Drumming, Steve Reich's celebrated percussion extravaganza, is an iconic work in the canon of minimalist composition. It was given pride of place on Saturday at the centre of the Sound Festival's minimalist weekend in a mind-blowing performance by the Colin Currie Group. They fielded 12 performers, coincidentally one for each of the beats in the basic rhythmic cell from which Reich derives the entire 70 minutes of music. The pummelling of tuned bongos merged at first imperceptibly into the pounding of marimbas before tinkling glockenspiels took up the rhythm. The marimbas were occasionally overlaid by two female voices while the glockenspiels received extra colour from a whistler and a piccolo.

Powerful and hypnotic, the mutating rhythms were derived from Reich's technique of phasing where two players begin together, then one speeds up. The sound built up or died back until all the players joined in an ear-splitting finale.

To be able to sustain this level of complexity from such simple basic material was a tour de force for both composer and performers. As an experience in sound, this was a revelation but it packed a powerful visual punch as well. The players recalled the mechanistic movements of the workers in Fritz Lang's film Metropolis.

Reproduced with permission of Herald & Times Group.

relevant events
  Date Day Time Location Event Details
23Sat 7.30 pmAberdeenColin Currie Group